App that screens cough sounds for possible COVID-19 on anvil


By Narendra Puppala

Hyderabad, Apr 2 (IANS): Even as the world is trying to come to terms with the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic, an app developed in Hyderabad could help in significantly reducing the time and resources spent in the preliminary screening of people for the dreaded coronavirus.

One of the major problems confronting the authorities and health agencies is the complexities involved in testing and confirming the presence of the coronavirus in a person.

The app, 'kAs', can identify the presence of respiratory conditions that indicate exposure to COVID-19 by analysing the coughing sounds of people, making preliminary screening possible for large numbers of people in a relatively short timeframe.

'kAs', which is Sanskrit for cough, is the brainchild of Hyderabad-based startup Salcit Technologies and IT firm Zensark Technologies Private Limited.

Speaking to IANS, Manmohan Jain of Zensark said, "The app works on the principle that different respiratory diseases have different cough signatures. Depending upon the respiratory health conditions, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, the cough originates in different parts of the respiratory system, resulting in a specific cough signature for a particular problem."

The app was originally developed as a screening aid for general respiratory issues in remote and rural areas. According to Narayana Rao of Salcit, the app has undergone clinical validation for diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia, where it gave good results.

However, with the COVID-19 outbreak, the promoters woke up to the possibilities of harnessing kAs' capabilities as a prescreening and monitoring device for the pandemic.

Jain said, "Apart from fever, the highest indicator of coronavirus is cough, and kAs can effectively help in pre-screening efforts at places such as migrant shelters and railway shelters where large number of people have to be pre-screened or monitored."

The developers are categorical that the app is not a replacement for laboratory testing but can only be considered as a prescreening and monitoring tool.

The app is ready and awaiting clearances for general availability in Google Play Store as the COVID-19 outbreak is a serious health issue.

  

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